Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fig-Rig Action!

I have now had a chance over the holidays to put my fig rig through some real tests and actually make a couple of short films with it too. The difference is remarkable, it has really helped to stabilize my camera and make it less home-movie looking… wish I would have done it a while ago. I put it through its paces at the beach, over rocks, up inclines, around the home and I have included some footage below shot with it as well as one of the short films.
I acquired some new video accessories over the holidays and have now added a Rode video microphone with a dead cat cover to my rig, which I have tested in some very windy conditions. Thus far, I have found that it makes what was formerly un-listenable video (due to horrendous wind noise) only mildly unpleasant; seems fair enough. Maybe I have to re-consider shooting in these conditions. Anyway, in normal home situations it sounds great with crystal clarity and detail that has been sorely missing from my efforts. It is worth every bit I paid for it at B&H Video. I look forward to including better sounding dialogue into my work from here on out.
In addition to that I am now the proud owner of a 144 led panel light that is adjustable for both dimming and colour.  I purchased it direct from China on EBay from steven.studio at half the price of the Ikan branded model-exact same light/kit. Though a bit leery of doing so, I have to say it all went really well, paid by pay-pal and they were really prompt answering my e-mail enquiries with pretty good English to boot. When I asked about articulating (magic) arms to mount the various gear on my fig rig they really hustled me to buy a couple… very impressive! Again they were less than half the price of “normal” on-line hardware retailers and they shipped them quickly no hassles. Now I have two magic arms, an eleven inch and a seven inch. I have used them with the light and the microphone. They all worked great! I will use the shorter arm when I get a seven inch monitor.
Last, but not least I also got some fiddly bits consisting of a couple of hot shoe mounts ¼’-20, cold shoe mounts ¼’-20, and a Manfrotto 323 quick release plate and adaptor, so I can now get all the gear as well as the camera on and off quick and the same to mount the complete fig-rig on a tripod.
Though the near complete rig now looks a little intimidating; I am happy with the results so far and am looking forward to a more ambitious project.  I have put up a video of the fig-rig in action, which you can see below. There are also samples of the footage taken with it as well. The last bit of the video I am using the light and the microphone and it looked heaps better and sounded superb. Next we will be adding a Lilliput seven inch monitor to the rig and finally a Sony NEX 7 and some nice glass to the kit!
In the meantime I am in the audience testing phase of a short film I made from which there are a couple of scenes in the fig-rig footage. I am deciding whether or not it is worth entering in a film festival of some kind or just putting it up on YouTube and Vimeo. I guess I will just wait and hear what a few people have to say about it.

And here is the link to the video-Down-under DIY Fig-Rig in action!

Downunder DIY Fig-Rig in action from Joe Michelli on Vimeo.

And here is the link to the video-"The Duel"! I used a tripod for some of the opening shots but after that it is all hand-held with the rig. Yes it is a silly little video... would have been epic if the weather was in my favour. Drat!

My wife Bronwyn came up with the idea to video her nieces opening their silly string guns for Christmas and instead I turned it into a production that took an afternoon to film and a few hours of editing, effects, etc.

Feel free to leave a nice comment!